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A Homemade Power Distribution Solution

I decided that I needed to divide my power input up a bit. I have some servos that can only handle 5 volts and some that can handle 6. Most of the ones that will be running together handle 6. I decided to find a way to build a power distribution center for the 6V side. I found a board at RadioShack (cant stand that place) that worked perfectly. It has 2 strips in the middle. The pins in each of the columns connect to the same pin in the next row in the same column. Just off both sides of this it has three columns that are tied in each row. I soldered pin to the two middle columns to provide pos and neg power to the columns. I soldered pins to two pins that have connecting pads just to the side of the positive strip. This allows me to plug in the connections from my servos without cutting any wires. it also lets me take a single wire from the EZ-B to the last pin, connecting the signal from the EZ=B to the power board, which then connects to the signal wire on the servo. I power the board with a Turnigy UBEC with the jumper on it set to 6 volts. I have another Turnigy UBEC connecting to the EZ-B V4 set to 5 volts which is powering all of my sensors, camera and 5V servos. Right now, these are both being powered off of the same LIPO battery. As soon as I get another battery, the EZ-B will be powered off of one batter and the 6V board and thus servos will be powered off of another.

I ran some strips of velcro down the back side of the board where no power or signals are running and mounted it inside the front right side of the Wall-E I am working on. It works great and allows me to quickly move motors between 5 and 6 volts if I decide to. The Turnigy ubec's boast 92% efficiently with a 3A continuous feed. They can handle bursts of up to 5A. I will let you know how it works out.



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#1  
Similar to how I set Melvin up (however I didn't have protoboard which had that layout so could only give a Vcc and Ground bus.

I have been playing around with a small PCB design for power distribution including voltage regulation, reservoir capacitors and over current protection however for a cheap and quick alternative this method works very well.

I also use similar for I2C distribution in Melvin.
#2  
I had seen posts recently where people were talking about having to cut wires to power lower voltage digital devices. This is a solution that allows you to keep your wires and provide the proper voltage. It does require some soldering but I prefer soldering pins to a board over cutting servo wires, especially when they are not my servo wires:)
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#3  
I completely agree. Modular solutions which can be changed are always my first choice.
#4  
Thanks for sharing. This solution is quite good.
#5  
Thank you for the complement. I hope it saves some sensor and servo wires in the near future:) I like Rich's idea of providing more stability through additional components, but I figure this would be a good starting point and might help someone.
#6  
I ended up implementing this solution with some variation. Thanks for showing me this. It worked out quite nicely...


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Using some stackable headers and some standard headers you can pass the signal and the ground straight through the distribution board. A standard male header carries the power from an external regulated voltage supply (+5VDC in my case) to the peripherals and does not contact the V+ on the EZB v4. The pins on this straight header are all bridged using solder. The regular 3-pin connectors plug right into the top of the distribution board just like they would into the EZB itself. I made an 8 pin for the ADC channels and a 4 pin for the digital IO's. 4 pin is the max that can be done with 0.1" protoboard because the spacing is irregular between groups of 4 digital IO's on the EZB.

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#8  
@bstaehling.... I like your setup. At this point I have been splicing in 5v and 6V (LM7505 and LM7506, more recently LM1084s because of the higher output) regulators into servo extension wires, but I think I would like to make a couple of header boards like yours.... Can you tell me what 5V regulator(s) you are using?
#9  
I am simply running the VCC+ through a regulator when it needs be.
#10  
@Richard R I'm using a switching regulator (DC converter) to supply both of the distribution boards. It's a buck converter that takes my 6V SLA battery down to a regulated 5VDC. It also has a high current (5A) output compared to linear regulators. You can set the regulator output to any voltage using its trimpot as long as it is lower than the input voltage (5-30V input to 0.8-28V output). You can get these switching regulators from Chinese suppliers online for cheap (~$5) and they work fine.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/281264983122?lpid=82


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If you make distribution boards like this, I'd strongly recommend using a high quality double sided protoboard. Most protoboards are single sided and made of brittle material that will shatter a bit when you cut it. I've used protoboard made by Vector Electronics. This stuff you can cut like butter with a pair of tin snips and sand the edges down nice and clean.
#12  
@bstaehling, love your solution. Whats funny is that I purchased 10 of the same buck converters as these originally because they were adjustable. I also bought about 30 of the converters that Richard is probably using to do the inline solution. I ended up using neither and went with ubec's. The interesting thing in my Wall-E is that I need to monitor power and provide some 7.4 volt to some servos. I have some servos that take 5V max and some that take 6V max. I ended up with using two boards, 1 with 5V ubec, and 1 with 6V ubec attached. I then also have a feed bypassing the ubecs and running directly to the EZ-B. There are some sensors that are 3.3V max also. So much power management in such a small box...It makes it fun though. Your solution takes up less room and I love that about it.
#13  
Thanks everyone for sharing their solution.

J
#14  
@d.cochran No doubt, the buck converters and the linear regulators are extremely useful for many different things. Good to have plenty on hand. They'll surely come in handy as long as you keep working on projects. I tend to get extra parts and always end up wondering where they all ended up when I run out. The ubecs are a new thing to me... I'll have to read up on them some more. They sound pretty interesting.
#15  
BICS, UBICS, SBICS oh my! Very boring and confusing stuff but oh so important in our hobby. They are basically just different kinds of voltage regulators. Now that the V4 is out and shipping it's even more important when we're hooking up all our neat sensors and motors to the EZB. We don't want to overload or let out the magic smoke. Here's a real, real good and entertaining video on the subject. This guy does a great job of explaining all this in simple to understand terms. Although it's over 24 minutes long it keeps your attention. Enjoy;

#16  
Thanks Dave... I picked up some new terminology here. This guy has "BICs" coming out of his ears! lol